30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Ghenna on 07-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 435 | Ratings: 813
Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Awesome beer. Sierra Nevada does this type of beer right. Great roastiness/malt flavor with a solid amount of hops to offset it. If you see it, pick it up. It's exactly as promised- a wolrdclass Barleywine with some slight roastiness to it.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap. Pours a heady mixture of dark brown and black. Aroma was a combination of both heavy roasted barley and C hops.

Taste has big everything. Almost. Big bittering hops. Plenty of bitter malts. Plenty of booziness. A lesser degree of sweetness. Pretty dry for something so dark.

Interesting beer, mashup of styles, like a black ipa, but a black barleywine. Would bang again.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a very deep burgundy color that makes the beer look almost brown. Head is very creamy, thick, and consistent.

S - Chocolate cream and dark fruit: figs, raisins. The bottle is six years old and the aroma, though very good, shows some signs of that.

T - The ABV makes itself known right away and sticks around from start to finish. Chocolate, raisins, figs, roasted toffee, and some dry oak woodiness. Finishes with a slightly bitter presence from the chocolate malt that's overpowering and balances things ot.

M - Full bodied, slippery, velvety, light syrup stickiness.

O - This aged very gracefully, totally enjoyed this bottle.

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Photo of smanson56
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drinking what I believe to be a 2010 bottle from my cellar. It pour a dark black color with a thick tan head into my tulip glass. The nose is malt and caramel with some toffee overtones. The caramel and toffee come through in the taste with a nice rich malt factor thrown in. The mouth feel is smooth. After a few years this is a really good barleywine .

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Photo of Roguer
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork almost shot off when I popped it, and out came this delicious, mesmerizing sweet and boozy smell.

True to its name, the brew pours dark black, topped with a tan head that darkens as it slowly collapses, leaving behind wide, thin lacing. As the brew gets lower in the glass, it becomes apparent that it is a very clear nut-brown color.

Boozy, sweet aroma; dark fruit; some chocolate; a bit of oxidation, but nothing overpowering. Kind of unfair to ding it for the age in the aroma, as I've never had it fresh.

Dark fruit, raisins, toffee, chocolate, oak, and a hint of bourbon. Flavors are all kind of mingling together; nothing really stands out. Long, bitter, earthy, and chocolatey finish. Exceptionally bitter, actually, with a kiss of caramel.

Surprisingly thin mouthfeel; oily retention; lots of back-end heat, but no hint of alcohol on the tongue. Long wet finish.

This is a surprising beer, even considering that I didn't know what to expect. It's a big beer, very smooth, but not incredibly interesting; for such a special release, I'd rather it be interesting than smooth. Which isn't to say it isn't good; it is very good, in fact.

Bottled in 2010; 4 years of age on it.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

I selected this as my Thanksgiving Day 2014 "special occasion" brew from the cellar. Yummy...tastes of dried fruit laced with notes of coffee, brown sugar, and all good things barley wine. The brew was four years old but still had quite a head in my glass.

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Pours a thin black with brown hues with beige head

Nose: big rich dark fruits, caramel, and honey, with an underlying roastiness/chocolate. Spectacular

Taste: starts with big caramel and toffee with a little floral presence and juicy dark fruits (fig, dried cherry), subtle citric hop bite. Some light coffee and cocoa arise, maybe a touch of tobacco in there. finishes with a complex swath of sticky caramel, coffee, and hops

Feel: smooth, rich, roasty, sticky, drinkable, balanced

Fantastic. Been sitting for 4 years and it's amazing, a top-notch barleywine with a touch of stout-like roastiness.

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Photo of dar482
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

The beer offers lots of ashy, tobacco, and top soil flavors up front. There's a medium plus roast in the middle. Then onto coffee and a bit of burnt caramel. There's a bittering of earth and pine on the finish.

An interesting that offers complimentary deep dark flavors that go well with the bitterness of American barleywines.

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Photo of Briken
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with some brown highlights, a frothy tan head with great retention and lacing. Sweet caramel aroma with light roasted and floral notes. Very roasted bitterness up front with caramel rounding it off after a few sips. Roasted bittering linger and stickiness balance a gentle warming in the finish. Notes of stone fruit and nuts. Sticky feel with a light bite yet smooth.

Interesting flavor but rather heavy on roasted malts for my taste. It's fairly complex but not quite enough for a viewing of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 7/12/2010. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, citrus zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruitiness, and light-moderate hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, citrus zest, light pine, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate earthy pine/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, cocoa, light roast, light pine, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, fruitiness, and light citrus/pine hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding dark barleywine style. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, fruitiness, and light-moderate citrus/pine hops flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering, definitely aging well.

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Photo of scootny
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Made the mistake of leaving this in the freezer overnight and had to thaw it. Having this at a very warm red wine like temperature and it is fantastic. Deep dark chestnut brown with a tan head that billows forth. Smell is delicious and complex. A healthy alcohol presence and sweetness fused to deep notes of toffee and warm sweet brown bread and touch of fruitcake. Lot of dark fruits, raisins and figs mostly. Flavor is incredible. Sweet rich and alcoholic. Lots of caramel and toffee with a healthy roasted grain char. Finish is dry and nicely hopped. Hoppier than most barleywines I've had. It helps to cleanse the palate of the considerable alcohol and make the beer more drinkable. Carbonation is nice, though no doubt it suffered from its frozen to room temperature journey into my glass. Smooth but just a little under carbonated in my circumstance. Weight is thickish and lightly syrupy. This is a great and highly drinkable beer. I would be sipping it slower but as the carbonation has suffered at my neglect I am going a little faster than I might otherwise. Just a superb brew that drinks like a dry irish stout in spite of the abc. If I had not forgotten and froze this one it might be off the charts.

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Photo of andrewjraab
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with a huge fluffy and brown / khaki head. Nice lace and stick.

S - Toasted malts, caramel, hops, chocolate, vanilla.

T - Rich and robust chocolate, malts. Some hops present in the back end. The velvety smooth and creamy mouth feel coats and lingers on the palate. I enjoyed each sip more and more and the alcohol was present as it warmed.

O - This was literally a once in a life time brew. I have another one sitting in the cellar that I will save for a special occasion. This was simply phenomenal in every way.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black as night with a tall caramel colored head.

Smells of resinous hops, caramel, sugar cookie, and earthy undertones.

Taste is hoppy up front with bitter pine and resin notes followed by some dark fruit notes fig, raisin. It has a very chewy, malt backbone with sugar cookie notes. It has a full rounded finish slightly dry with oak & earth undertones. A deep dark rich complex brew this.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had one fresh a few years ago and this one three years later. Major carbonation "pop" once the cork was pulled. Good to hear.

Pours a dark brown color with a billowing beige head that sits atop the brew like cream. Slowly dissolves to a nice layer. Consistent throughout the session. Big lacing.

The aroma is a big blend of malt and dark fruits. Light rubber, brown sugar, tree sap and molasses.

The taste still has a nice subdued hop presence. Dark fruits and malt also dominate the taste here. A touch of sweetness with a dose of bitterness on the swallow. Light salivation on the buds after the sip. Very pleasant tasting which I did not get the first time I tried this in 2010. The blend has mellowed and is gelling nicely.

Mouthfeel is solid. Big bodied ale with silky feel.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I admit I wasn't overly impressed when I drank this fresh, but my opinion has definitely changed. The years have done remarkable work to this intriguing BW. Solid carbonation after many years and the taste is perfectly blended at this point. I think this might be peaking about now and am glad I drank it when I did. Three years is probably the max wait for a BW (IMO) and this was no exception. Awesome work Jack and Ken!! [Double exclamation point worthy]

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750 ML bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary snifter. Liquid pours out a nice brown sugar toffee brown and a dark brown as it collects in the glass. When you hold it up to the light you can see all all the it's dark brown and mahogany highlights the whole way through. Nice tan colored head with all sorts of different sized bubbles, some very nice lacing and glass retention on this one.

Smell is good. Lots of dark roasted malts with hints of dark fruits, maybe hints of figs and raisins, with an afterthought of brown sugar and toffee. Hops have held up quite nicely on this, has the nice pine and citrus hops that tickle your nose on a finish at the end. Really good smelling beer, my only knock on it is that it's not overly strong.

Taste is great and it's potency makes up for the lack of strength in the smell. Starts off a little earthy bitter, gets gradually sweet and ends bitter again. There's a nice pine flavor and again some hints of bitterness from dehydrated dark fruits. It's followed by a nice sweetness of brown sugar, toffee and even some caramel. Then there is a generous amount of citrus hoppiness to balance it off. I can't express enough how awesome it is that the hops have held up so well.

Mouthfeel is really good, probably the best part. As mentioned before, bitter, sweet, then bitter again. Flavor lasts and lasts on the pallet, it's full bodied. Excellent carbonation level and super smooth. Alcohol is warming but doesn't bite at you. The smoothness covers some of that with a clean, dry, bitter feel at the end to cap it off. Crazy drinkable, I wish I had another bottle to open right now. Great for a cold night like tonight, but could easily be a year round brew. Nice job Jack and Ken!

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Photo of zeledonia
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up a while ago, finally getting around to drinking it. Can't recall having a black barleywine before, so I'm intrigued. Tasted 16 October 2013.

Pours deep coffee brown, solid black in the center. Two fingers of dense medium-light tan head, good retention, nice lacing.

Smell is really interesting. It's got the malts of a barleywine, and the deep roast and hops of a citrusy black IPA. Totally unique, and a fantastic combination. Like a black IPA juiced up with half dark roasted malts and half caramel malts more typical of a barleywine. I really like this.

Taste is a lot like the smell, if a bit less complex. Heavier on the citrus, melding really well with the roast, almost like orange chocolate. This is really good stuff. Drifts bitter in the finish, as I'd expect it to with the hops and the ABV.

Feel is good; medium-bodied, just enough carbonation, fuzzy. Moderately lasting, allowing the bitter to linger a bit.

I like this beer a lot. I'm really enjoying the crazy hybrid of IPA, stout, and barleywine. It all works together amazingly well, though I do wonder if it's smoothed out over time. Yum.

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Photo of BeerIsland
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Still drinking beautifully. Everything is in place and the balance is excellent. As smooth as silk and tons of flavor. I enjoyed the hell of of this one while watching PSU take it to Michigan tonight. One more in the cellar, likely will be gone at the next decent snowfall!

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Photo of Resuin
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 mL corked and caged bottle into a snifter. This is the 30th anniversary beer so it likely has about 3 years of age on it.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown and leaves a couple fingers of tan head, which linger around for a LONG time. Very good looking beer - I've never seen a head like this. The head looks like a coffee milkshake.

Smell: Vanilla, a kick of toffee, figs and plums and coffee lead the way along with some cocoa and plenty of malts. Well balanced aroma, I like the amount of vanilla that comes through.

Taste: Matches the nose very well - vanilla, a hint of coffee, malts, dark chocolate, toffee, dark fruits. Really delicious combination of flavors. Very little hop flavors, likely because of the age, but the age has done wonders for this. Alcohol is all but hidden.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation, with a thick, creamy body. Wonderful texture - the carbonation is still there enough to give this one some life.

Overall: I am extremely impressed with this beer. The delicious vanilla, bitter coffee and dark chocolate flavors are delicious, and the whole beer comes together brilliantly from the texture and flavors to the smell. Terrific.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a wine tulip snifter glass. Much thanks to the DC bottle share gang!

Sample pour brings a very rich creamy light tan head in appearance, with microscopic bubbles, Body is a very dark raisin like currant brown and fairly opaque. Pretty dark and aggressive looking.

The bouquet on this is a bit one dimensional, but it is a huge aroma of serious whipped up milk chocolate. I can get next to nothing else after the fact, but it feels creamy and dominates the senses, with a soft ice cream like texture. Very impressive.

Palate hits with tight noticeable alcohol, changing to a very dominant strong hop pine bitterness. Faint mellow citrus on the swallow, with a large warmth in aftertaste but not overly boozy. Pine bitterness takes over, with mild creamy malt backbone to compliment. Chocolate senses on the nose doesn't translate to the palate.

For an aged barleywine this is holding up pretty solidly, with a real impressive bouquet.

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Photo of beergoot
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Deep brown body topped with a very thick, creamy, tan-colored head. Roasted grains and cocoa scented smells with hints of vanilla and raisins; a subdued alcohol presence in the background. Taste and feel is rich and warm, infused with dark chocolate and malt flavors; alcohol heat pops up and combines with an intense hop bitterness to create a very nice complement to the malt sweetness. Medium-heavy mouthfeel with a deep smoothness on the tongue.

A great beer that comes across better than the sum of its parts. A powerhouse beer across the board with the malt components taking center stage with outstanding dark malt characteristics and does an excellent job of keeping the high ABV tamed and very approachable. An outstanding offering that, with fingers-crossed, may see the light of day again...!!!

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Photo of Strix
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with brown edges, frothy initial head that sticks around well.

Dark roasty malt, caramel, citrus hops in the nose.

Roasted malt, caramel, dark chocolate, toffee, melds into a medium-level cascade hop finish. Is this not a Black IPA? Black DIPA? It's got that flavor profile nailed and dialed. Super flavorful, complex, and delicious.

Smooth, fairly full mouthfeel.

Best beer I've had so far this year, hands down. Has aged wonderfully. This was fantastic.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

cellared bottle consumed awhile back

a: poured into a tulip glass, el barleywine negro is essentially black in color - some brown hues show in the edges, topped with a persistent, healthy ring of carbonation

s: the nose features deep roasted malts and dark pine needle hops at the forefront, digging a little deeper brings out burnt toffee, dark cocoa dusted espresso, charred earth and wood, and booze marinated tree fruits, like the nose here - assertive and highly aromatic, but the roast and pine are a little dominant for my preference - there's some real complexity in there, but it takes work to find

m: carbonation a lighter moderate, bubbly, with a medium-full body

t: deep flavors of dark roasted barley and strong pine hops with bittersweet chocolate and burnt toffee underneath, powerful pine needle hops with loads of acid pushing through after the swallow - the acid more than balancing - it's dominant, with a searing bitterness and deep charred flavors lingering long

o: an interesting take on the style that's not totally unlike all the black (d)ipa's out there these days, some features of the roast/hop combination I enjoy and some I don't, and it's so assertive as to be problematic to drinkability, but as an early winter slow-sipper, it does just fine

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark as night and thick, with only hints of light getting through the edges. Big, creamy, frothy head forms from the volatile pour out of the corked and caged bottle. Great retention and lacing period, let alone for a beer that's been in the bottle for almost three years.

S- Large booze and hop profile is dominant on the nose. Dark malts are next, with mostly burnt flavors coming through. Booze is strong and persistent throughout.

T- Almost exactly like the scent. Starts with a big bang of hops bitterness paired with burnt malt flavors. Combination gives a taste similar to a black IPA. The hops bitterness returns and dominates with the boozey burn throughout. Really complex with the intermingling of citrusy hops and bitter dark malts.

M- Smooth and creamy with low carbonation. Thick and boozey weight makes it a sipper. Really a warming beer with the alcohol level.

Overall, a very complex beer. Probably mellowed out with the time in the bottle. The alcohol heat is still fairly present, but blends with the other flavors better now. I think this one could be great another year or two in the bottle still.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Corked and caged. Thanks, Cliff, for sharing.

A: Blackish brown (cola colored) with a tan half finger head that slowly recedes. Great lacing.

S: Big malts, raisins. Smoky, woody.

T: Sweet, smooth, robust. Terrifically malty. Toffee and dark fruits. Cocoa comes through. A fine sipper.

M: Medium to heavy with great carbonation. Thick, chewy. Just lovely.

O: We served this just under room temperature, which brought out all the flavors. The aging brought this one to full taste fruition.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked & caged bottle – aged approx. 3 years.
Consumed on 02/08/13 – with my Sierra Nevada Leuttich balloon glass (naturally)

A: Pours a dark cola brown body that collects to more of a black walnut once in the glass. Completely opaque and topped with a dense taupe color head that is stubborn as all get out. Succumbs to some large Swiss cheese size holes but never fully recedes leaving thick cakey remnants upon the glass. Quite the looker.

S: Smells of deep rich toffees with fig and sweet plum sauce. A bit of underlying chocolate and molasses round out the nose quite nicely. Getting some light pine and spiced citrus mixed in as well. Pretty nice aromas with a good influence of caramelized dark pit fruit.

T: Taste is just a delicious ensemble of flavors, laden with dark toffees and sugared dates. Almost like a fig pudding or plum jam with some nice roast character in there. Treacle and a good dose of chocolates. A tame nutty bread note meets with a bit of alcohol spice mid way. I get black cherry and grape with some light sherry-like qualities. The hops still have some life to them with a moderate bitterness that brings damp pines and earthy bark like flavors to the brew. There is some fleeting citrus as well with a faint smoky charcoal hit towards the backend. Overall balance is damn fine and oh so smooth. This is surprisingly good.

M: Silky smooth feel with some moderate weight but no substantial chew. In fact, a touch on the thinner side which actually makes this barley wine much more manageable in my opinion . Finishes on the dryer side with a nice frothy consistency with ome light lingering bitterness and a touch of warming alcohol.

D: Drinking fantastic at 3 years. The flavors have melded quite nicely. In fact, I don’t get the sense this one will develop much beyond what it is today. Which is a great balanced brew rich with caramels, dark fruits, and chocolate. Big fan of the Black Barley Wine. The addition of darker roasts to a big burly wine seems to work well here and especially after a few years of mellowing. Would love to see more of this style blender.

Great stuff!

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30th Anniversary - Jack & Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.12 out of 5 based on 813 ratings.
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